Imagine a nine-month-long storm the size of North America so volatile it eventually bursts through the atmosphere, spiking temperatures from Alaskan lows to Death Valley highs.
It sounds like a dystopian sci-fi nightmare—or at least a really good disaster flick—but it actually happened on Saturn in 2010 and 2011. The Cassini spacecraft, which orbits the massive planet, picked up information about the unique meteorological event and relayed it back to Earth. Time-lapse images show a bright, enormous vortex zipping around the planet in multiple waves.
Scientists believe large storms occur annually on Saturn, where one year is equivalent to 30 on Earth, and we only now have the technology to track them. As the lead author of a study on the storm told the Los Angeles Times, “In generations to come, when they study storms on Saturn, this is what they'll come back to."
TODAY IN SLATE
More Than Scottish Pride
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Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows
The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything
It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.
Happy Constitution Day!
Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.